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The words "peace", "occupier", "aggressor", Palestinian", "transfer", "civilian casualties" are all-inclusive in today's media mythology to have become banal or whose context remains insufficiently challenged. However, considering that the Arabs are winning the media war against Israel, if truth is to overcome evil then surely a massive combined effort by factual historians, knowledgeable journalists and religious leaders of impeccable faith and credentials is required to bring justice to a situation which impacts on world politics. Let us, therefore, examine each entity with a view to providing a forum for the proposed effort.
There is hardly a day when we either read about or view text concerning peace. But, alas, as the Prophet Jeremiah observed in biblical times: "peace, peace, but there is no peace". What is the meaning of peace? According to the Oxford dictionary, it is "freedom from or cessation of war, treaty securing this; civil order as secured by law, prevention or refrain from strife; quiet, calm, harmonious relations, restoring another to or regain harmony with". The Webster dictionary considers it "a state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; a state or period of mutual concord between governments; a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity".
President John K. Kennedy said in his state of the union message the year he was assassinated, "The mere absence of war is not peace". When it comes to the ongoing antagonism of Islam towards Israel, perhaps President Richard Nixon has the most fitting description of peace as follows.
"Real peace is not an end to conflict but a means to living with conflict. Once established, it requires constant attention to survive. Americans are idealists, and idealists long for a world without conflict, a world in which all difference between nations have been overcome, all ambitions forsworn, all aggressive or selfish impulses transformed into acts of individual and national beneficence. But conflict is intrinsic to mankind. History, ideas and material aspirations have always divided the people of the world, and these divisions have continually led to conflict and war. That will not change. We must accept the permanence of conflict and devise policies that take immutable fact of international life into account. We must not vainly search for perfect peace but turn our efforts to creating real peace. Perfect peace assumes the end of conflict. Real peace is a means of living with unending conflict. Real peace is a process -- a continuing process for managing and containing conflict between competing nations, competing systems, and competing international ambitions. It is the only kind of peace that has ever existed and the only kind we can realistically hope to achieve."
However, the process described by Nixon has been applied ad nauseam over the past century only to be treated with utter contempt by the Muslim nations. Perhaps, the accommodation with Egypt may be considered an exception, at least for the present. The visceral hatred of Israel by Muslim leaders dates back to the Balfour Declaration where the mere suggestion of Jewish sovereignty was enough to cause vehement objections. Zev Jabotinsky viewed this animosity as "Arab claims to Jewish demands akin to the claims of appetite verses the claims of starvation". Indeed, the rhetoric expressed by numerous Muslim leaders throughout the past century does not invoke any semblance of a desire for peace of any kind with the Jews. What follows is but a sampling of Arab expression:
"This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades" [Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha, May 15, 1948, the day five Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel, one day after the nation declared its independence].
"The Arab nations should sacrifice up to 10 million of their 50 million people, if necessary, to wipe out Israel-----Israel to the Arab world is like a cancer to the human body, and the only way of remedy is to uproot it, just like cancer" [Saud ibn Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia -- quoted by the Associated Press of January 9, 1954]. It was, of course, the same ibn Saud whose historic meeting with President Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy resulted in the "special relationship" between the US & Saudi Arabia effective to this day, one in which he was able to extract a commitment that Arab interests in Palestine would not be sacrificed to Jewish aspirations for nationhood.
"No to recognition, no to negotiations and no to peace with Israel" was the summation of the Arab leaders meeting in Khartoum in 1967 after the Six Day war.
"All countries should wage war against the Zionists, who are there to destroy all human organizations and to destroy civilization and the work which good people are trying to do." [King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, in a speech in Uganda -- reported in the Beirut Daily Star, November 17, 1972].
Of course, to the media, leftist extremists, the UN and the US State Department, all of the forgoing is meaningless rhetoric and as for history, who has time? "Peace" is always deserving of a "chance"!
Notwithstanding the ever-present doctrine of appeasement, as George Santayana observed, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". What then has been the history of "peace" in the Arab-Israeli conflict? It clearly is demonstrated in the reality of acts of Israeli concessions resulting in violent Arab reaction rather than acceptance. These acts are confirmed in the truth behind the less-than-friendly rhetoric of those who are cast as peacemakers, rather than enemies of Israel. A short history will bear out this curious phenomenon.
Noted by Benjamin Netanyahu in his book, "A Place among the Nations", a few months following the Arab failure in the Yom Kippur War, Arafat's PNC concluded that Israel in its post-1967 boundaries could not be destroyed militarily. Thus was born the Phased Plan, the use of diplomacy to reduce Israeli held territory in stages. Abu Iyad explains this Trojan horse as follows:
"According to the Phased Plan, we will establish a Palestinian state on any part of Palestine that the enemy will retreat from. The Palestinian State will be a stage in our prolonged struggle for the liberation of Palestine on all of the territory. We cannot achieve the strategic goal of a Palestinian state in all of Palestine without first establishing a Palestinian state [on part of it]."
Thus terror and duplicity would be the goal as opposed to terror alone.
How did the US and Israel respond to this changed strategy? Remarkably, by means of a series of concessions, only to demonstrate that appeasement simply does not secure the desired objective of peace.
The Oslo Accords, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government arrangements for the PLO came into effect on September 13, 1993. Its intention was to establish peace between Israel and an emerging Palestinian State. What has been the result? Why, the return of Gaza, an Israeli failed war in Lebanon and the strengthening of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. It can be seen that the Arab gains in the battle for public opinion has spiraled while Israel once again has suffered diminished strategic depth and lowered defense capability. Apparently, the meaning of peace is one of punishing the victim and rewarding the aggressor.
Of course, being declared an "occupier" has contributed much to this state of affairs. In the words of Dore Gold, the language of "occupation" has allowed the Palestinian spokesmen to obfuscate history. The world has been sold the myth that the root cause of the Arab/Muslim-Israeli conflict is the "occupation". In concert with this distortion is the argument founded on justifying terrorism as resistance to "occupation". The fact is at this point in time the PA has full control of Gaza and large tracts of the West Bank.
Lost in such terminology as "occupied", "foreign occupation", "end the occupation", and "occupied Palestinian territories" is the attempt to eradicate discussion for territorial compromise or, more importantly, to eliminate consideration of Israel's historical claims to the land. According to UN Security Council Resolution 242, which served as a basis for the 1993 Declaration of Principles [Oslo], Israeli is entitled to part of the territories in dispute for defensible borders. Lord Caradon, British UN ambassador, confirmed this in 1967. Three years later, when asked about the meaning of the resolution, the British foreign secretary, George Brown stated, "Israel will not withdraw from all the territories".
Even former President Bill Clinton's Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright refused to be persuaded by the Arabs "occupation" distortion and expressed her view accordingly:
"We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 War as occupied Palestinian territory". Further, since the Oslo interim Agreement in September 1995, 98% of the Arab population of Judea, Samaria & Gaza have been under Palestinian Arab jurisdiction. Beyond this, the entire Gaza more recently was turned over to the PA, despite Israel's long-standing historical rights. Indeed, the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine recognized Jewish national rights in the whole of the Mandated territory with these words, "recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country".
It does seem strange that the words "aggressor" and "victim" are so
pliable that they can be reversed. However, the Arabs have succeeded
in convincing the media of their mythology to an extent whereby it is
seldom challenged. They have built a case through several falsehoods.
These include [a] denying the Jewish historical rights to the Land of
Israel, [b] naming themselves as Palestinians, [c] classifying
themselves as victims of oppression and [d] naming terrorists as
martyrs with a just cause. Thus, the old David and Goliath model has
been reversed, the Palestinian being the pitied underdog.
A COMMON misperception is that the Jews were forced into the Diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. and then, 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. A national language and a distinct civilization remain intact.
The daily use of the words "Palestine" and "Palestinian" is to have formulated in the minds of the public an impression of identifying the PLO/PA Arabs with ownership of what really is disputed territory. As the Nazi Goebbels once proclaimed, if a lie is repeated often enough, it will be believed. Indeed, the only occupiers of Judea, Samaria & Gaza were Jordan and Egypt who seized these territories during the 1948 War of Independence in defiance of international law, remaining there until their defeat by Israel in 1967. It is never too late to ask the question, what does "Palestine" mean and who is a "Palestinian? The land in question has never been the name of a nation or state. Interestingly enough, it is an American Christian journalist, Joseph Farah, who best explains the origin and true meaning of these terms.
He notes that the first time the name was used was in 70 AD when the Romans committed genocide against the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more. From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine. It had never existed as an autonomous entity and was ruled by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War 1. As a consequence of the Balfour Declaration, the British committed to developing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In this, Lord Balfour himself expressed a doomed hope that out of the vast territories bestowed upon the Arabs, they "would not begrudge" the Jews their "little notch".
There is no language known as Palestinian and no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians [another invention], Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Farah reminds us that the Arabs control 99.9% of the Middle East lands, while Israel represents one-tenth of 1 % of the landmass. "But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today. Greed, pride, envy, covetousness -- no matter how many land concessions Israelis make, it will never be enough." He also observes that treating a 5,000 year-old birthright by over whelming historical and archaeological evidence equally with illegitimate claims, wishes and wants gives diplomacy and peace keeping a bad name.
Professor Bernard Lewis, the world renowned Princeton University historian is on record as saying that from the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries.
In everyday lexicon, Israel is cast as the "aggressor" implying that Israel initiates violence, whereas at all times the Arabs have created the climate of violence. Curiously, major concessions or withdrawals by Israel inevitably result in an Arab uprising. This then is the correlation of events for over 30 years of Israeli land concession after land concession, while the so-called Palestinians continue to kill and maim Jews ferociously in Israel. Nothing that the terrorists do seem to derail the land-for-no-peace policies enforced on Israel and even embraced by some Israeli governments. It does appear as if Arab propaganda and the Arab oil weapon have reached a level of power beyond which the international community is not embarrassed in openly rewarding terrorists.
As noted by journalist Michael Medved, establishment publications like the Times and Newsweek attempt to show their "compassion" and "even-handedness" by suggesting that all parties to the conflict are equally victims. And all are equally terrorists. In the process, they dishonor the dead by erasing the necessary dividing lines between the blameless and the bestial.
Advocacy journalism in the matter of the Arab-Israeli conflict became particularly aggressive following the war of 1967. The Arabs were able to wield their power in the UN with greater skill to the point whereby Arafat, despite the introduction of life threatening acts involving citizens of the world was able to gain an audience at this august body. Who can forget the advent of the pernicious "Zionism is racism" discussion and resolution? The damage ensuing from this singular event took years to erase until its reversal although the after effects lingered with the word "Nazi" still appearing in the media as a description of Israeli behavior towards the Palestinian Arabs.
During the first Lebanon war, the crafty Arafat embarked on yet another tactic, which has left immeasurable consequences. Regrettably Ariel Sharon's intellect did not extend far enough to realize that Arafat's hiding behind women and children would result in civilian deaths providing the media ample opportunity to exploit the situation. Viewers of TV and readers of the leading newspapers found themselves with a picture of inhuman Israelis in action.
The identification of Zionism as Jewish racism defines the existence of Israel as a crime against the Palestinian Arabs. Of course, concurrent with this environment has been the perennial Arab cry on behalf of the "refugees". No serious attempt has been made by UN to resettle the refugees, the Arabs themselves showing no interest in doing so because developing hatred in a group denied human rights can and has been so readily exploited. Why has a liberal democratic press ignored this festering sore in the Middle East to continuously regenerate itself? In all this, for the most part, the response of the Israeli government and Jewish public worldwide has been somewhat muted. It is as if the Jews want nothing beyond acceptance by the Arabs and are afraid to press their justifiable claims proactively while assuming that appeasement will result in Arab acquiescence, with the consequence of Arab enmity eventually disappearing if ignored.
While the Jews, who have valid claims to the land, are timid about pressing their claims, the Arabs, with no legitimate arguments, have had no reluctance demanding both a Judenfrei state of their own and the return of the Arab refugees to the Jewish state.
Sabina Citron's tour de force, "The Indictment" covers the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict in great depth. This book is not only comprehensive but is inclusive of contemporary material. In reference to "a democratic Palestinian state," she laughingly remarks, "The idea that the lawless hoodlums running amok in Gaza, threatening even each other in total anarchy, are material for a lawful society is not sustained by reality." She observes that the creation of a Palestinian state would do nothing to bring peace to the Middle East, while not addressing the psychological impact of such an enclave on Israel. While castigating Israeli governments for failure to protect its citizens as opposed to facilitating its own destruction, she provides a warning that unless moral clarity becomes the order of the day, not only Israel but the entire civilized world will find itself at the barricades. Her warning bears close resemblance to the tireless effforts of Zev Jabotinsky prior to World War 2.
As a holocaust survivor, Sabina Citron is well equipped to discuss
the subject history with a sense of reality. She has organized and
consolidated a vast bank of information using known sources. Sabina's
summing up of the situation speaks volumes; "The Arab-Israeli
conflict is not about reasonable agreements with responsible people.
It is not even about 'refugees', nor about compromise on land -- It
is abundantly clear that the Arabs do not want a peace accord with
Israel, but rather to dismantle Israel piece by piece -- It is about
genocide, not peace."
THE WORD "transfer" has assumed an evil connotation over the years -- until recently. When suggested with regards to movement of Arabs from the Land of Israel, referred to as Palestine in the Palestine Mandate, it was finally greeted with universal opposition. However, when the Jews were uprooted from Gush Katif in Gaza, the same act was NOT generally condemned. Not a single argument previously used for Arabs was evoked. It is a fact that both the Israeli Left and Israeli Right desire separation from the Arabs. The only distinction concerns the geographical border for the separation. The left is willing to forsake Israel's birthright and entitlement whereas the right favors annexation of the disputed territories with accommodation for the Palestinian Arabs amongst their own people in Arab countries.
Commencing in the 19th century, discussions on the idea of
transferring Arabs was considered legitimate, although frowned upon by
some. Both in high official circles and in private quarters there was
indeed much deliberation on the subject. A comprehensive book on the
subject has been composed by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons of Kiryat Aba
(http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/7854/transfer.html). It is an exhaustive analysis on the topic presented in a chronological manner, covering the proposals of both prominent individuals and lesser known individuals.
The list of advocates of transfer, some official while others of a private nature, include Herzl, Weitzman, Ben Gurion, President Roosevelt, President Hoover, King Abdullah, Glubb Pasha, Bertrand Russell, Jabotinsky, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Menachem Ussiskin, Berl Katznelson, Moshe Shertock [Sharett], Senator Claude Pepper, Col. Meinartzhagen, Leopold Amery and Yitzchak Tabenkin.
Here follows just a few segments of the views, arguments and plans relative to population transfers, which today's political correctness would label relocation.
Herbert Hoover, America's 31st President suggested moving the Arabs from Palestine to Iraq. In this, he saw gains for them, the Jews and the Iraqis.
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed moving the Arabs out of Palestine in order to allow for Jewish settlement. He was of the opinion that there were many other places for the Arabs and in particular, Iraq. By 1944, Roosevelt expressed confidence that he could resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. His Under-Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius wrote in his diary, "He [the President] thinks Palestine should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it ----and he has definite ideas on the subject -- it should be exclusive Jewish territory."
King Abdullah and Prime Minister Ibrahim Pasha [Transjordan, 1946]: "King Abdullah and Prime Minister of Transjordan both consider that partition followed by an exchange of populations is only practical solution to the Palestine problem. They do not feel able to express this view publicly because having regard to the possibility of the Arab area of Palestine being joined to Transjordan they would be regarded as prejudiced."
Mosli Amin, an Arab, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine, as a matter of sheer pragmatism, put forward a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. It was published in Damascus and distributed amongst the Arab leaders. Amin's proposal allocated all of Palestine to the Jews and even suggested "dams" to segregate the Jewish state from neighboring Arab countries! The Palestinian Arabs were to be divided up and settled in these neighboring countries. He used as his model, the successful Greco-Turkish exchange whereby approximately 1.5 million Greeks and half a million Muslims were moved from one side of the international border to the other.
Col. Richard Meinertzhagen, Chief Political Officer in Palestine and Syria , felt so strongly about poulation exchange that "I would buy out an Arab family if I knew the land went forever to Zionism". His plan was for the British and French to insist on Jewish sovereignty in Palestine while granting the Arabs monetary compensation to move to neighboring Arab countries bordering on Palestine.
In 1947, Iraqui Prime Minister Nuri Sa'id suggested exchanging the Jewish population of Bagdad for an equal number of Israeli Arabs.
As indicated, the idea of "transfer" had been nurtured by leading statesmen long before 1942. Why then has the media found it necessary to give the concept an evil connotation when considering Israel? The largest population exchange was effected when Pakistan split from India on August 15, 1947. Eight million Hindus and six million Muslims were involved. In spite of painful experiences, the operation had broad support. Undoubtedly, Israel has been relegated to a different standard.
The recent Lebanon war provided the Arabs with ample opportunity to exploit the falsification of "civilian casualities" and "disproportunate" action by Israel. Noted earlier, the idea of terrorists gaining a strategic advantage by positioning themselves behind civilians, innocent or otherwise, owes its origin to the evil genius of Yasser Arafat during the first Lebanon war. The Israeli journalist, Ze'ev Chafets, covers the subject fully in the chapter, "Chairman Yasser's best battalion" in his book Double Vision. He explains how the western media became a partner in the PLO's propaganda and, as such, distorted the facts to give the impression that it was Israeli policy to target civilians. Never mind the fact that the Israeli army went to great lengths to aviod civilian casualties at a high cost in the lives of many of her soldiers.
Judging by its behaviour, the media's coverage of Lebanon War 2 borders closely to that of Lebanon War 1. In this, it is instructive to recall the words of then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, hardly a pro-Israel proponent, who said, "No sovereign state can tolerate indefinitely the buildup along its borders of a military force dedicated to its destruction, and proceeding by periodic shellings and raids". Somehow, the press fails to see or admit to the centrality of the Arab/Muslim world in its actions towards Israel, being instead pursuaded by the vacuous cause it espouses, viz. the creation of yet another Arab country.
However, one cannot overlook the contribution to this state of affairs by Israeli leaders who instead of voicing positive claims to the mandated Palestine [Land of Israel], aquiesce to the arguments of their enemies as a matter of desperation. Indeed, many decades have passed since the original reasons which gave rise to the modern Israel were expressed:
In contemporary times, we can add to this the fact that the disputed territories were captured in defensive wars.
During the early deliberations over a Jewish state in Palestine, Lord Cecil had proclaimed, "Arabia for the Arabs, Armenia for Armenians and Judea for the Jews". This sentiment has undoubtedly been turned on its head.
The animosity of the media towards Israel and the appeasement of the Arabs by the international community, including the selective acceptance of Arab terrorists, can only be attributed to the Arab oil weapon. It is clear that until such time as alternatives to fossil fuels are found, Israel in particular will suffer. For sure, the Arabs will not relent of their own volition and not even the "real peace" advocated by former President Richard Nixon will prevail.
This essay was submitted January 2, 2007.
Alex Rose is an engineering consultant. He was formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA New York. He made Aliyah in 2003 and now resided in Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel. Contact him at email@example.com
This essay was submitted January 2, 2007.
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